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LUMBINI - Happy belated birthday, Buddha! The birthday of Prince Siddhartha Gautama is a holiday traditionally celebrated in Mahayana Buddhism on the 8th day of the 4th lunar month. This year it fell on May 17, and that got the peace and party started from Sioux City to Sri Lanka.

The occasion allows us to look back, forward, and take a tour of the world's fourth most widely practiced religion.

Buddhism is about 2,500 years old, with different branches such as Theravada and Mahayana. Theravada is mostly followed in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, and Mahayana is strongest in Tibet, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Mongolia.

Since then, many other sects and schools have branched such as Zen, Kadampa, Nichiren, Sanlun, Sangharaj Nikaya, and many others.

Buddhism spread mainly throughout Asia and remained virtually unknown to the West until modern times, when it began attracting those looking for a more peaceful way of life. So light up a joss stick and ease into our worldwide Buddha tour...

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Geopolitics

Patronage Or Politics? What's Driving Qatar And Egypt Grand Rapprochement

For Cairo, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil,” with anger directed at Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, and others critical of Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood ouster. But the vitriol is now gone, with the first ever visit by Egyptian President al-Sisi to Doha.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with the Emir of Qatar in June 2022 in Cairo

Beesan Kassab, Daniel O'Connell, Ehsan Salah, Hazem Tharwat and Najih Dawoud

For the first time since coming to power in 2014, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi traveled to Doha last month on an official visit, a capstone in a steadily building rapprochement between the two countries in the last year.

Not long ago, however, the photo-op capturing the two heads of state smiling at one another in Doha would have seemed impossible. In the wake of the Armed Forces’ ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, Qatar and Egypt traded barbs.

In the lexicon of the intelligence-controlled Egyptian press landscape, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil” working to undermine Egypt’s stability. Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, was banned from Egypt, but, from its social media accounts and television broadcast, it regularly published salacious and insulting details about the Egyptian administration.

But all of that vitriol is now gone.

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